CHICAGO (CBS) – The city of Chicago is on pace to surpass 800 carjacking incidents this year — more than double the number in 2014 and 2015 combined.
“It’s brutal out here,” one Chicago police official tells CBS 2.
2 Investigator Brad Edwards interviewed recent carjacking victims. One of them, Ian Collins, recalls being pistol-whipped after leaving a River North bar.
He eventually recovered his car but, without health insurance, he is struggling to pay his more than $12,000 in medical bills.
He’s not the only victim dealing with the aftermath.
Citywide, the number of carjacking incidents has soared. There were around 300 in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2016, the number jumped to 663.
Now, in 2017, there has been another big increase. There were 550 through the first eight months of the year, putting the city on pace to exceed 800, according to Chicago police data.
Arthur Lurigio, a criminal justice expert, says carjacking has spiked in part because crime is up across the city. Also, he notes, newer vehicles have become almost impossible to steal.
“High-end newer vehicles are almost theft-proof,” he says.
Law enforcement sources tell Edwards an increasing number of carjacking incidents are committed by juveniles looking for luxury rides and bolstered by the street knowledge that police are hesitant to engage in pursuits.
Police made arrests in 34, or 6 percent, of this year’s 550 carjacking cases.
“Not only is it scary because it’s unpredictable, it’s also difficult to enforce because it can happen any time of the day, on any street in Chicago,” Lurigio says.
Jesus De La O, 28, was killed in an attempted carjacking in August in the city’s Noble Square neighborhood.
His family tells Edwards they had warned him to leave Chicago because the city is too dangerous.
Now, they are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of his killer.